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W. Va. Senate candidate touts Trump ties in campaign stop

U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins stopped by Theo Yanni's restaurant for a business roundtable.

A Republican congressman running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia held a campaign event in Weirton Wednesday.

U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins stopped by Theo Yanni's restaurant for a business roundtable.

In the crowded field of six Republicans running for U.S. Senate in West Virginia, Congressman Evan Jenkins is arguably the most traditional politician among them. But he's hoping to overcome anti-incumbent sentiment with his stalwart support of President Trump.

Congressman Jenkins knew he was in someone else's turf, so he invited co-challenger and Weirton native, Jack Newbrough, to his business roundtable.

Both candidates are espousing their support for President Trump, and Jenkins, a former Democrat who switched parties in 2013, says it's Democrats who are scared of him facing off against current Senator Joe Manchin in the fall.

“We have already seen $1.5 million come in in dark money from this group called 'Duty and Country.' There's nothing patriotic about it. These are Democrats meddling in the Republican primary,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins says the outside money buys on TV ads are a sign Democrats fear him as a general election challenger.

“They know that I have a great relationship with President Trump," he said.

Jenkins was a Republican until 1992, then during Clinton and both Bush presidencies, he was a Democrat, before switching back to Republican in 2013. Asked about his party changes, he said this:

“I've always been a conservative. I've always stood up for my West Virginia values. Look, Barack Obama decimated our state. The Democratic party believes in abortion on demand. They believe in gun-grabbing limits on our second amendment.”

Touting his record on pro-life and pro-gun legislative issues, Jenkins says he's proven his conservative party purity.

“We can take out Joe Manchin,” he said. “We need to stand by Donald Trump. I am the only candidate in this race for U.S. senate that actually endorsed Donald Trump; not only voted for him, but stood by him every step of the way. If you want someone who's got Donald Trump's back, Evan Jenkins is that candidate.”

The May primary election is next Tuesday, May 7th.

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